How to Watch Every Ending of ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’

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Image: Netflix

This morning Netflix launched Bandersnatch, a stand-alone episode of the popular ‘Black Mirror’ series.

Unlike other shows, the episode works sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books, where periodically you need to select what you’d like to happen next in order to continue. It’s also best watched on a computer screen for easy selection (I put it up on our larger monitor). The episode is not compatible with Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast.

It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, and like those Choose Your Own Adventure books, there are a number of ways that the story can end for you and it can be hard to figure out where each option will take you.

Screenshot: Netflix / Bandersnatch

Luckily, one Imgur poster has taken the time (since midnight!) to create a flow chart laying most of those options out. I recommend giving it a watch once just choosing what you’d like along the way before checking out the chart.

Here’s the (obviously spolier-filled) chart:

Image: Imgur

With so many ways this thing can end, I can see watching Bandersnatch at least a few more times to see a few different endings.

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Motivation Over Discipline

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There’s a popular maxim in personal development circles that goes: “F**k motivation. It’s fickle and unreliable and isn’t worth your time. Better to cultivate discipline.”

Everywhere you look these days, people are exalting the sentiment behind this mantra; they’re down on motivation and high on discipline. Your Instagram feed is probably full of “influencers” shouting at you to get disciplined. Discipline, discipline, discipline!

We used to beat the discipline drum ourselves. In fact, we were banging on about discipline before it was cool, man!

But in the past few years, I’ve found myself changing my tune. Chalk it up to the greater self-awareness that (hopefully) comes with age, but I realized that while it felt satisfying in a fist-pumping, chest-thumping kind of way to attribute my good habits to discipline, it wasn’t really the operative force behind their execution.

At the same time that I’ve been questioning the role of discipline in my life, so has the scientific community. It was once thought that people who seem to have the most self-control — who rank themselves highly on this quality and have the positive life outcomes to back that assessment up — were simply better at exercising their willpower. But recent studies have shown this isn’t the case; in fact, as Vox writer Brian Resnick reports, “The people who said they excelled at self-control were hardly using it at all.”

As it turns out, people who seem to exhibit the most self-control aren’t gritting their teeth and using discipline to resist temptations, but instead have minimized the number of temptations they experience in the first place. How? Because of the way they structure their environment and routines, and, because they actually enjoy the habits they pursue.

In other words, though observers on the outside, and even the individual himself, may think he does something because he’s disciplined, he often actually does it because he’s intrinsically motivated to do so.

How do we so readily miss this fact? It happens like this:

Let’s say there’s a guy who makes a habit of waking up at 4:00 in the morning. We find waking up this early extremely difficult. So, we assume this early riser experiences the same resistance we do, and yet manages to overcome it through greater discipline.

Discipline, the ability to resist temptation and exercise willpower, carries all sorts of cultural and even ethical weight, owing to religion, the Puritans, the Protestant work ethic, etc. The possession of discipline is seen as a virtue; its lack, a moral failing.

Thus, when we see that someone is able to wake up early, when we cannot, we not only chalk it up to greater discipline on their part, we equate this greater discipline with superiority of character, which turns their early rising habit into a moral imperative – something we should do too.

But it’s possible to look at this example from a very different angle.

Let’s say there’s a guy who makes a habit of waking up at 4:00 in the morning. He does so because he’s biologically got a “chronotype” – a disposition towards a certain waking/sleeping schedule – that makes him naturally feel great, and function best, when waking up early in the morning.

We, on the other hand, struggle with rising early, not because we’re undisciplined, but because we have a chronotype that naturally predisposes us to go to bed and wake up later. We actually don’t function best super early in the morning, and it’s not even healthy for us to try to do so.

In other words, while we assume that the early riser wakes up early because he’s more disciplined — and the early riser himself is likely to chalk it up to discipline too, because that’s the most flattering way to look at it — what’s really happening is that the early riser’s unique biology and personality dispose him to like a habit that others do not. He’s not driven by discipline to wake up early, he’s motivated to do so. But because we equate early rising with discipline, and discipline with moral character, we try to force ourselves into a mold that’s not right for us.

So the main reason we mistake motivation for discipline is that we miss the fact that some people’s biology and personality predispose them to enjoy things that others find miserable.

When the researcher Daniel F. Chambliss conducted a study on the “nature of excellence” by examining what factors resulted in the stratification of competitive swimmers – why some became Olympians and others did not – he found that:

“At the higher levels of competitive swimming, something like an inversion of attitude takes place. The very features of the sport which the “C” swimmer finds unpleasant, the top-level swimmer enjoys. What others see as boring—swimming back and forth over a black line for two hours, say—they find peaceful, even meditative, often challenging, or therapeutic. They enjoy hard practices, look forward to difficult competitions, try to set difficult goals. Coming into the 5.30 AM practices at Mission Viejo, many of the swimmers were lively, laughing, talking, enjoying themselves, perhaps appreciating the fact that most people would positively hate doing it. It is incorrect to believe that top athletes suffer great sacrifices to achieve their goals. Often, they don’t see what they do as sacrificial at all. They like it.”

Let me give you some examples of this phenomenon from my own life.

For the last few years, I’ve been dedicated to a coach-directed weightlifting program. Every week I do taxing 60-90 minute workouts 4X a week. Over this time, I’ve only missed a handful of workouts, mainly due to being really sick or traveling (though I’ve hit most of my workouts even while on vacation). As a result, I can now bench 315 lbs, squat 456 lbs, and deadlift 605 lbs.

Now, I could take to social media to crow about how disciplined I am. But it would be a lie. Discipline does not drive me to work out. Rather, I work out because I like it. I enjoy it. A lot. It’s one of my most favorite things in life.

It’s not even force of habit, either; it doesn’t feel any easier, or more automated, to do my workouts now than when I first started. I did them at the beginning because I enjoyed them, and I do them now because I enjoy them.

If you looked at my life from the outside, you might think, “Man, Brett is so disciplined! I wish I could be like that.” And yet you’d have a completely false picture! I do my workouts consistently because I’m motivated to do them.

I have to laugh when I see people posting on social media about how they’re working out on Christmas or Thanksgiving, as if that makes them hard AF. You know why they’re working out? Because they like it.

Same thing with work-work. I typically do some amount of work every day of the week. I work on weekends. I work on vacation. Sometimes I work on holidays. Sometimes I work long hours. Sometimes I pull all-nighters. To hear many entrepreneurial types tell it, I’m working like this because I’ve got grit, I’ve got willpower; “Rise and grind, baby!”

Is that true? Do I work because I’m disciplined?

Nah. I do it because I like working. I enjoy it. I feel like doing it. I’m motivated.

If someone who doesn’t like their job and doesn’t like to work long hours, looked at my schedule they might think, “Wow, I can’t imagine being that disciplined.” But again, this would be an entirely distorted view. Said guy probably doesn’t like to work long hours because he doesn’t own his business and/or he’s not invested in the purpose behind his work. That doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t as disciplined, he’s just working under a different set of circumstances.

In one of my favorite Jack London quotes, he said:

“The ultimate word is I Like. It lies beneath philosophy, and is twined about the heart of life. When philosophy has maundered ponderously for a month, telling the individual what he must do, the individual says, in an instant, “I Like,” and does something else, and philosophy goes glimmering. It is I Like that makes the drunkard drink and the martyr wear a hair shirt; that makes one man a reveller and another man an anchorite; that makes one man pursue fame, another gold, another love, and another God. Philosophy is very often a man’s way of explaining his own I LIKE.”

What London means is that people often come up with an explanation (whether it’s the simple idea that they’re disciplined or a whole philosophy) for why they do what they do after the fact, when really, they do what they do because they like it.

And given that “I like” is “twined about the heart of life,” you’re ultimately not going to stick with anything that you don’t truly enjoy – that you’re not intrinsically motivated to pursue.

Discipline = Self-Reliance

This is all to say that in many instances, what looks like discipline in someone else is just a matter of personal preference. If somebody wants to major in business, and we’d hate doing that major, we don’t think of ourselves as being less disciplined than them. If someone likes cilantro, and we don’t, we don’t think to ourselves, “If only I was more disciplined, I could eat more cilantro.” We just think, “Different strokes for different folks; I don’t personally enjoy that.”

Yet we try to force ourselves into certain habits we think we should do, even if they’re not right for us.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t there things we truly should be doing? Shouldn’t we all exercise and eat right and try to be productive and stuff?”

I would certainly agree. But I would frame the typical discussion differently.

You may like to lounge around, and play video games, and eat junk food, but this isn’t what you should limit your life to. It is a moral failing not to use your full potential to its utmost.

But, it’s not a moral failing to choose to adopt one set of habits over another in order to achieve a life of virtue, excellence, and flourishing.  

Winston Churchill had a unique daily routine: he’d stay up until 2 (and sometimes 3 or 4) in the morning, wake up at 8, and take a 2-hour nap at 3 PM each day. If he lived in the modern age, and posted a pic of his watch showing 2:00 AM, with a tagline about working late, he probably wouldn’t get very many kudos; instead, people might tsk-tsk him about needing to get to bed. And he certainly wouldn’t get many likes for showing his watch at 3:00 PM along with a “Nap time!” caption. But why should this be, when Churchill’s routine worked so well for him, allowing him to put in two “creative shifts” a day (one earlier and one later), be incredibly productive, pen 44 highly praised books, and lead England through WWII?

There are a few habits that are objectively right and wrong. But most are morally neutral. Instead of lending certain habits value only according to how difficult they feel, here’s a better metric to use: what habits allow you to access your greatest potential?

There all kinds of ways you can approach the same habit; you can achieve the same end, through different means – a set of means you like.

James Clear says this in Atomic Habits:

“you should build habits that work for your personality. People can get ripped working out like a bodybuilder, but if you prefer rock climbing or cycling or rowing, then shape your exercise habit around your interests. If your friend follows a low-carb diet but you find that low-fat works for you, then more power to you. If you want to read more don’t be embarrassed if you prefer steamy romance novels over nonfiction. Read whatever fascinates you. You don’t have to build habits everyone tells you to build. Choose the habit that bests suits you, not the one that is most popular.”

Knowing that I need to exercise, I could flog myself to make running my fitness modality of choice; I could discipline myself to do it every day. But why would I do that when I can get in my regular exercise by doing something – lifting weights – that I actually like to do?

You too, can find ways of eating, exercising, reading, working, and structuring your daily routine, that require less willpower, and that feel more enjoyable and intrinsically motivating.

The path to finding those habits simply involves experimentation; Clear poses these questions as a way to direct your efforts: “What feels like fun to [you], but work to others? . . . When are you enjoying yourself while other people are complaining? The work that hurts you less than it hurts others is the work you were made to do.”

It’s not about avoiding difficult things, which would be a moral failing. It’s about finding the hard things you nonetheless love. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s right; when something is hard, and yet brings you joy, and unlocks your potential, then it’s right for you.

That might sound like an easier standard to reach, as indeed you’ll be choosing habits that feel more natural and intrinsically motivating. But it can still be a difficult task, for it involves ignoring what other people say you should be doing and the feeling of guilt that can come from cultural expectations. It’s still hard in that you must choose habits for yourself, based on your own firsthand experiments, and stay your own unique course.

Doing this takes work, so that here is what I think is a better way to define discipline: the ability to practice radical self-reliance.

The Obligatory Caveats

My message here is that what often looks like discipline in someone else is actually motivation; while it may be something you find difficult, he may enjoy it. If you’re willpowering your way through life, you’re probably pursuing the wrong goals, or going about their pursuit the wrong way.

But when I say “motivation over discipline,” I am definitely not saying “motivation without discipline.” Discipline still most certainly plays a crucial role in forming habits and reaching goals.

While I rarely need discipline to start my workouts, sometimes I need it when I’m at the bottom of a squat and have to grind my way back up. While I don’t generally need discipline to get to work, sometimes I need it to power through a particularly tedious task.

Discipline particularly comes in handy when you’re trying to abstain from something, rather than wanting to do something proactive.

Few people like to suppress their temper, choose a salad over a burger, or quit smoking. Sometimes you do need to exercise pure willpower in contradiction to your feelings. Though even in these cases, there are strategies in which you can exercise discipline upfront – such as in the way you structure your environment – that reduce the need for the exercise of much discipline later on (tune into my podcast with Mr. Clear tomorrow for some very useful tips in this area). You can also often learn to like things you didn’t like before; e.g., you may think you hate vegetables, but if, through discipline, you eat them regularly (and learn to prepare them well!) you may actually come to enjoy their taste. It’s possible to change what you want to want.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t need too much discipline to pursue the basic building blocks of your life, but you will need it to go deeper and more intensely into them, and to refine their practice. So while you can significantly minimize your reliance on willpower, discipline will always need to be an active force in your life.

My second caveat is this: when I talk about motivation, I’m not speaking of a feeling that always burns like an overwhelming passion. It won’t necessarily push you out the door. It won’t always be a giddiness that bubbles over. Rather, it can manifest itself as a simple, quiet desire, a feeling of satisfaction you may need to intentionally tune into.

It’s not the case that “when you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Work will still feel like work, but work can be both hard and pleasurable. 

Motivation Over Discipline

“I am inclined to think that joy is the motor, the thing that keeps everything else going. Without joyous celebration to infuse the…Disciplines, we will sooner or later abandon them. Joy produces energy. Joy makes us strong.” –Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline

“Duty is a hard, mechanical process for making men do things that love would make easy. It is a poor understudy to love. It is not a high enough motive with which to inspire humanity. Duty is the body to which love is the soul. Love, in the divine alchemy of life, transmutes all duties into privileges, all responsibilities into joys.” –William George Jordan, The Kingship of Self-Control

Discipline is necessary; duty is necessary, absolutely. But it’s possible to feel like doing what you want to do far more often than is realized.

Perception is not always reality. Despite what the Discipline Industrial Complex™ might lead you to believe, you don’t have to be superhumanly disciplined to reach your goals. You’re not ultimately going to find success by white-knuckling your way through life. You’ll never stick with things you don’t, at some level, truly enjoy.

There is almost nothing – from my work, to my routine, to my barbell training, to my marriage – that requires the active exercise of discipline. Instead, I do what I do, because I like it. It brings me pleasure and joy and satisfaction. I’m motivated to do it.

You can enjoy the magic of motivation too if you experiment to find approaches to your habits, routines, and goals that are uniquely satisfying for you. So you don’t like exercising yet; how many of the hundreds of workout types and sports have you actually, really tried? A half dozen? Keep testing. Hate dieting? It’s truly possible to find a way of eating that will make it easier for you to stay on track; there are people who genuinely like intermittent fasting, low carbing, or the “If It Fits Your Macros plan.” This approach to life should even inform your faith; there are certain spiritual disciplines that some people find very effective in accessing the transcendent, but which do little for others; find the practices that work for you.

Stop feeling guilty if you hate waking up early, or loathe running, or don’t think meditation does anything for you. You should only feel guilty if you’re not making the most of your talents and potential.

Full human flourishing should be your goal. How you get there is up to you.

Find your own “I LIKE.” And let the opinions of others go glimmering.

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Here Are (Almost) All Of The Easter Eggs Hidden In ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’

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Black Mirror Bandersnatch Easter Eggs

Netflix

There are so many Easter eggs in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch it’s basically impossible to catch them all. So, because we care and to save you time, here is a list of (almost) all of them. How many of these did you actually notice?

I mean, considering the fact that Netflix had to create a whole new computer program to make Bandersnatch a reality, how are we ever supposed to find all the Easter eggs, let alone all of the possible endings?

Ready? Here we go…

The Tuckersoft video game Metl Hedd references Metalhead the fifth episode of season four of Black Mirror.

The game Nohzdyve refers to the season three episode titled, you guessed it, Nosedive, which also just so happens to be an actual game you can play (if you are very, very handy with computers).

Oh, and just like the episode Nosedive, Tuckersoft’s website will also let you rate human beings.

That newspaper report about Stefan killing his dad was replete with references to previous Black Mirror episodes.

The “Love Machine” calls back season four episode “Hang the DJ.” It is created by BRB, which refers to season two’s “Be Right Back.”

Space Fleet obviously refers to the “USS Callister” episode, while 15 Million Talent Team is obviously calling back the episode “15 Million Merits.”

In another part of the movie, while Pearl talks about rebooting Bandersnatch a news scroll mentions a Space Fleet cast reunion at the Emmy Awards ceremony.

Annnd… Valdack from “USS Callister” also has his very own video game, according to the poster on Stefan’s bedroom wall, inside the world of Bandersnatch.

The place where Stefan visits Dr. Haynes is a medical building named Saint Juniper’s. And if you haven’t watched season three’s Emmy Award-winning fourth episode, San Junipero, you are really missing out.

The place where are the games are produced, Tuckersoft, is a reference to TCKR, a tech company that shows up in several Black Mirror episodes including “Playtest,” “San Junipero,” “Metalhead” and “Black Museum.”

White Bear, from the second episode of season two of Black Mirror, was probably the most obvious.

No way you caught the reference to former Prime Minister Michael Callow from the very first Black Mirror episode, right?

That same news crawl also says “Granular to Unveil Prototype Pollinator Drone” which is a definite reference to “Hated in the Nation” from season three.

And here’s a mind-blower, Bandersnatch the game was referenced in previous Black Mirror episodes.

Then there was this…

And this…

Get all that? If not, maybe this video will help.

Okay, so which Easter eggs did I miss?

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5G Phones Are Coming Soon, But You Should Wait to Buy One

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With just about every major US cellphone service provider prepping their 5G network rollouts, you’ve probably seen 2019 hyped as the beginning of the “5G revolution,” or something similar.

While 5G will be a major step forward for cellular networks and smartphones alike, the technology is still in its nascent stages. We know pretty well where 5G stands at the beginning of 2019, and from our perspective, some healthy skepticism is warranted (at least for now). This quick guide should help you understand what 5G even is in the first place; how it will affect smartphones; and whether or not you should buy a 5G phone this year.

What is 5G?

5G is shorthand for the “fifth generation of cellular network technology.” This fifth generation sees the introduction of mmWave (short for “millimeter wavelength”) technology, which taps into a broad range of radio frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum that is currently unused—specifically the 24GHz to 90GHz range (current 4G LTE networks cover the 450MHz to 5.9GHz range).

What does this mean? Basically, much faster mobile networks and lower latency. While there are some big, bold claims being bandied about by tech companies (and conspiracy theorists) that build upon the potential that faster networks could bring, until we actually see how 5G implementation is utilized, much of this is just speculation. Besides, most of these companies are ignoring or intentionally obfuscating the current downsides of 5G.

The Downsides of 5G

There’s a reason why the 24GHz to 90Ghz frequency range is basically free-game; mmWave frequencies suffer from reception issues and can be blocked by your hand, walls, tall trees, and even bad weather. In fact, certain wavelengths can even be absorbed by oxygen in the atmosphere.

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Even if those signal impediments didn’t exist, there’s still the issue of network coverage. In order to access the new 5G spectrum, phones, cell towers, and modems will need to be outfitted with new technology. Two other “types” of 5G—low-band and mid-band—also exist, which are easier to implement, but offer slightly slower speeds compared to mmWave. This means that the availability and quality of 5G is dependent on whether your network has upgraded the towers in your market—not to mention that you’ll need a 5G-compatible device as well.

Buying a 5G phone in 2019

Image: HTC

We’re confident 5G networks and smartphones will hit their stride one day, but our honest recommendation is to avoid purchasing a new smartphone solely because it’s 5G-friendly. (If a manufacturer offers a 4G LTE-only alternative, spring for that.)  

4G devices will continue to launch in 2019 and it’s possible—likely, even—that manufacturers will offer separate 5G and 4G LTE versions of the same device. The 4G LTE versions will be cheaper—potentially by hundreds of dollars—but will likely have better battery life, at minimum. Because of this, we see 4G LTE smartphones remaining viable, competitive options into early 2020 (at minimum).

However, service providers and smartphone manufacturers are going to try their best to make you believe that buying a new 5G device is worth the upgrade price—we already know that at least Samsung and HTC will have 5G-enabled smartphones launching in 2019. Instead of taking them at their word, here are our recommendations if you absolutely must have the newest tech and decide to buy a 5G device in 2019.

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Check for 5G coverage and speeds in your area first

Make sure you live in a market where your carrier actually supports 5G. Not all carriers will be covering the same markets and not all 5G service is going to be equal.

AT&T: AT&T initially launched its 5G network in 2018 in 12 cities.

  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Louisvilla, Kentucky
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Raleigh North Carolina
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Houston, Texas
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Waco, Texas

The company plans to reach at least 19 cities in 2019. AT&T’s 5G network will eventually use mmWave, though it will initially launch in the “Citizens Band Radio Spectrum,” piggybacking off its LTE network while it rolls out true 5G over the coming years.

Sprint: Sprint plans to launch 5G in at least nine major markets in 2019, including.

  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Phoenix
  • Washington, D.C.

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It’s worth noting that Sprint is using 2.5GHz “mid-band” coverage instead of mmWave, which means faster network expansion but lesser speeds and higher latency compared to AT&T and Verizon’s 5G networks.

T-Mobile: T-Mobile is launching its 5G network in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. However, T-Mobile is using a “low band” 5G that also includes 600 MHz frequencies in addition to mmWave. This will enable T-Mobile to expand its coverage faster—its currently building its network in 30 other cities and promising nation-wide coverage by 2020, though “low-band” 5G will be the slowest of the 5G flavors available.

Verizon: While Verizon will provide mmWave 5G coverage, it will also be deploying mid- and low-band service as well, and it will be piggybacking its entire 5G wireless network off its 5G Home network for internet and cable. You’ll find this first in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, and Indianapolis.

Obviously, if your market doesn’t have 5G coverage, you don’t need a 5G phone right away.

Pay attention to battery life and performance

5G phones will likely see a drop in battery size and possibly performance. The same issue happened with the launch of 4G LTE network. Since then, the technology that powers LTE in your smartphone now runs on single chips that house all necessary components—antennas, GPUs, CPUs, et cetera. These compact chipsets give manufacturers more space for things like RAM, storage, and most importantly, larger batteries.

Since 5G components access an entirely different signal frequency and must be developed with the 5G’s potential shortcomings in mind, their individual components are going to be larger and likely separated within the phone, rather than packed into a single chip. This means less space allocated for the battery, unfortunately.

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Signal consistency and antenna performance

Graphic: Qualcomm

Piggybacking off the previous tip, pay attention to any idiosyncrasies with “handling” or “antenna performance.” Since 5G waves can be blocked by everything from your hand to even the very oxygen in the air, some phones may be finicky when it comes to proper antenna orientation. If you’re going to buy a phone, make sure it includes multiple 5G antennas—something Qualcomm is attempting as a means of reducing the potential for blocked reception.

Don’t pay the 5G premium if you can avoid it

At first, providers will probably be charging you as much as $200-$300 more for 5G devices compared to 4G LTE devices, and likely an increase in your monthly phone service bill. While we can sympathize with wanting the newest tech and gadgets, this premium just isn’t worth it. Wait for a price drop or—better yet—wait for better phones that can better justify that price hike.

Wait for reviews…

Much like with the pricing consideration, resist the urge to preorder a new phone and instead wait for reviews and early-adopter feedback. Almost all of the above points will be hit by reviewers as these new phones (and 5G network coverage in general) become available to consumers. If something hits it out of the park, you’ll know. Otherwise, stick with 4G LTE.

…or even longer

At some point, 5G will be worth the upgrade, but it’ll take time and at least one or two iterations on the tech before it’s ready. By then, it’s not out of the question to assume that 5G coverage will be more widely available and that 5G-compatible devices will have saturated the market.

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